CEO Know Thyself
Many business owners can’t help but micromanage employees, but a truly talented CEO encourages autonomy and purpose within the organization. Of course, there is a risk in fostering autonomy.
It’s a lot like the old saying:
“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.“
When you know you’ve got a quality team member who is talented and trustworthy, you hold on loosely. (Hey, wasn’t that a song in the 80’s?) Anyway, freedom breeds trust and with trust comes more freedom.
The employee who is given autonomy will be a higher caliber employee! And yes, there is always the chance the autonomous employee will fly away some day, or worse yet, surpass you in business success. A confident CEO has the guts to hire the person who possesses the lions share of business savvy. Those are the kind of risks that pay off in the long run. In real estate, they say you should buy the least expensive house on the block. The strategy in business is, hire a subordinate who is a wee bit brainier than you.
The Right Players
If you have already decided to foster autonomy within your organization, it starts during the initial interview. Organize the conversation and questions toward autonomy and purpose, every time. Do not vary the process you formulate as long as the company continues to embrace these values.
However, not everybody deserves autonomy, so it is important that you hire someone who is deserving of what you are about to give them.
Hopefully you already know what the organizational purpose is because it is entirely up to you. Now you want to find out as much as possible about your future employee. What motivates them? What are their core values? What is their individual purpose?
You need someone who thinks bigger than money and security. You should be looking for an artistic inventor who has a purpose greater than themselves. Someone who is motivated by their own innovation; someone who accomplishes small goals toward their life purpose.
When the Interview is Over
Once your interview processes are secure and you’ve done your part in getting the right person for the team, what can you do as the CEO to foster these values within the organization? Here are a few strategies to kick around:
- Reward accomplished projects as opposed to time served.
- Give everyone a voice.
- Consider rewarding outstanding employees with a stake in the company.
- Reward innovation and individuality.
- Reward winning ideas.
- Take inventory of employee strengths and weaknesses
Autonomous employees should be able to own their successes and failures. They must deliver in the workplace. Obviously, they need to motivate themselves and produce great results with very little supervision.
“Defining purpose is a straightforward proposition. In its simplest form, purpose is the organization’s reason for being“
A purpose is threefold:
- There is a general purpose that belongs to the organization itself that everybody should be on-board with.
- There is a purpose each individual has within the organization, (organizational purpose).
- And then there is an individual purpose that people have in their personal life. Ideally their individual purpose will at least loosely match up with the organizational purpose. However, it is okay if it looks a bit different.
Creative differences and fresh ideas originate from people who have varying ideas about purpose. The purpose of an organization can change over time. This is something that you should be evaluating on a regular basis.
“No matter what you do, your job exists for a reason. When you know that reason – and when you fully understand how your efforts make the world a better place for someone else – you have found your job’s purpose“
Consider a Mission Statement
“Work should be purposeful and meaningful. It should contribute to making the world a better place. It should be a cause that’s making a difference in people’s lives“
How does your organization make the world a better place? Do you have a mission statement? Here are a few examples of big companies and their mission statements:
- L’OREAL-“Offering all women and men worldwide the best of cosmetics innovation in terms of quality, efficacy and safety”
- TOYOTA– “To attract and attain customers with high-valued products and services and the most satisfying ownership experience in America.”
- FERRARI– “To make unique sports cars that represent the finest in Italian design and craftsmanship, both on the track and on the road.”
Autonomy is a reward given to highly valuable members of a team. Purpose is our reason for getting out of bed in the morning. We want employees to value the company as if they own it. Autonomy and purpose are the bridge to achieving that goal in the 21st Century.
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